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Sounder Strategy: Whitecaps making waves

Seattle faces their toughest home test yet

Last Updated
5 min read
Zach Del Bello | Sounders FC Communications

A week after a disappointing draw in Frisco, the Sounders return home to face a resurgent Whitecaps team. With more bad injury news getting the fanbase down, it is up to the Sounders to show that their play against Montréal was no fluke. After a home loss to LA, the Whitecaps are eager to show that their early season success was not a mirage. Let’s look at why the Sounders came back down to earth at Dallas, and how they might use the LA Galaxy’s blueprint to defeat Vancouver.

Sussing out Seattle

Dallas came out in the same defensive 5-4-1 formation that earned them a scoreless draw away at St. Louis, and earned another scoreless draw. While Dallas’ crowded midfield helped prevent extended possession sequences for the Sounders, much of Seattle’s struggles came down to sloppiness. This sequence summed up the evening rather well for both sides:

The Sounders try their best to give up a chance to Dallas, but the ensuing shot sails wide.

One of the bright spots on the evening was a lovely bit of pinpoint distribution from Stefan Frei that should have ended in a goal:

Stefan Frei gets the Sounders on the run, but Cristian Roldan cannot handle Jordan Morris' cross.

Stef is not known for his passing out of the back, so it was refreshing to see a long ball sent on a rope to Jordan Morris. While Seattle’s offense remains among the top teams in MLS in metrics such as American Soccer Analysis’ goals added, their inability to get goals from their wingers is getting ridiculous. More bad injury news on Pedro de la Vega this week means that the current group will need to figure things out on their own.

While the Sounders’ first half was characterized by a missed opportunity on the field, the second half was about leaving opportunity on the bench. With Seattle enjoying the better possession until minute 69, FC Dallas made a double change that turned the match in their favor. Asier Illarramendi and Bernard Kamungo entered the game and provided an immediate boost in energy:

Illarramendi and Kamungo put Dallas a step ahead of the Sounders’ pressure, opening up opportunities in space on Seattle’s left side.

After swapping Josh Atencio for João Paulo at minute 65, the Sounders did not make another change until the 86th minute when Danny Musovski entered for Raúl Ruidíaz. Musovski immediately added energy and a direct threat for Dallas to reckon with, but scarcely had time to make an impact. If Seattle are serious about getting back into the race for the top of the West, they need to act like a contender by taking the game to poorly-performing teams, even on the road.

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